Opinion

Conard salary seems justified

Mayor Nancy Conard of Coupeville will likely be the highest-paid small town mayor in the state if the council, as expected, approves doubling her salary to $58,012 per year.

The big increase will come with a commensurate hike in her work hours, as the position will increase to full-time from part-time.

The council can in good conscience approve the increase if it is not tagged permanently to the position, regardless of who holds it. Some future mayor may not be worth that much, and could be given pay for half-time or even less. Someone who simply wants to cut ribbons, kiss babies and represent the town at conferences where lunch is included might not be worth nearly so much.

Conard, however, is a special case. She’s extremely experienced and hard working and is well connected to county, regional and state officials. She also fulfills the duties of town administrator, which is no easy job. In recent years she’s put in far more hours than she’s been compensated for by her part-time salary.

The council has the option of keeping the mayor on a part-time salary and then hiring a full-time administrator. But that would likely cost more than letting Conard do it all, and the new employee may or may not be worth the money.

Conard was an effective business manager for the school district for many years before her recent retirement, and she brings much-needed financial expertise to small town government.

Her unique blend of financial and political experience plus her ties to the community make Conard worth a full-time salary as mayor. Her efforts to obtain more state grants for roads and other infrastructure improvements could more than pay for her own salary.

It makes sense to make Nancy Conard the town’s full-time mayor. But just make sure that when people run for Mayor of Coupeville in the future, there’s no guarantee it will be a full-time position.

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